Thiruvananthapuram: The Thiruvananthapuram Corporation had lost Rs 1,15,07,746 of revenue in fiscal 2016-17 because of its failure to collect employment tax from companies at Technopark, the Kerala capital’s IT hub where about half a lakh people work, show an audit report.
It is estimated that the revenue loss would be much wider if the numbers for the previous years were also accounted for.
The employment tax is collected on a half-yearly basis, but a scrutiny of demand registers and other documents showed that the corporation had not collected it in both halves of 2016-17.
The audit report recommended that this amount be recovered with penal interest from the staff or accounted for as the liability of officials.
It was found that the corporation had suffered huge revenue losses because of not keeping proper demand registers and checking whether taxes were paid in full.
Lack of a proper scrutiny system, flawed data collection and failures in the follow-up process were blamed for the revenue loss.
Tax to be collected from many entities
The audit found non-collection of employment tax from as many as 435 establishments in the corporation area.
The amount that was not collected under this account from traders was Rs 41,64,520.
At 314, the Attipra zonal office had the highest number of establishments from which tax had not been collected in 2016-17. Vattiyoorkavu had the least at three entities.
Among others, the Fort zonal office had 22, Ulloor 37 and Kadakampalli 15.
The revenue loss from traders under the central office totaled Rs 14,88,440. The next was Kazhakuttom at Rs 7,32,640.
Though the government under a 2015 order had exempted houses with up to 60 square meters of area from paying property tax, the audit found that it was still being levied under the Ulloor, Attipra and Kazhakuttom zonal offices.
Special team to collect tax
The corporation has set up a special team to collect tax from employees and companies of Technopark after the audit report highlighted the flaws in tax collection.
The team comprises assistant revenue officer T P Janardhanan, revenue inspector N. Sujith Kumar and senior clerk V.S. Maya, and has collected about Rs 3 lakh of tax already in one week.
The corporation doesn't have accurate data on the number of entities and employees under its jurisdiction and this is seen as a key hindrance in collecting tax.